With this high in the mind of most packaging suppliers, Bobst Group have been looking at ways in which faults in packs can be substantially reduced, and the company plans to show a whole range of new ideas at the COMPETENCE10 event in September.
Ensuring the quality of value-added
As head of the DSF product line, which encompasses all of BOBST's flat-bed diecutters, hot foil stampers, and flexo post-printers, Mr. Jean-Luc Cachin is guardian of a reputation for innovation stretching back seventy years. Mr. Cachin says that the majority of the brand's new developments in the last five years have revolved around ensuring the quality of customers' end products. "Ten years ago, the box maker was focused on speed, and we addressed this issue with machines which run consistently at 8, 10, or even 12'000 sheets an hour. Now, more and more, they are asking for our help to stop any non-conforming product reaching their customers. This is why, for example, we now have dynamic register systems throughout the majority of our diecutter ranges." Mr. Cachin says that these systems ensure that diecutting to print registration is perfect, even if there is register drift on the litho printing press or laminator that the sheets come from.
For corrugated printing presses, Mr. Cachin says that BOBST's newly launched iQ300 quality control system is another innovation designed to stop non-conforming product reaching the customer. "This system checks every sheet produced on a BOBST corrugated flexo printer against a reference sample, and this means that damage, defects, and variations that fall outside of the customers' quality standard are identified in real time and the offending sheets ejected."
Now, Mr. Cachin says, BOBST is also focused on pushing the limits of high graphics print, as well as on bringing high performance diecutting to a wider audience. "The new generation printing machine we will launch at COMPETENCE10, the MASTERFLEX-HD, will truly challenge offset printing in its quality of print and its consistency. We have taken the work we did in the design of the MASTERFLEX-A and MASTERFLEX-L, added many new developments, and worked with the world's best plate makers, anilox engravers, and other suppliers to create a high graphics machine that will be the new reference in flexo printing on corrugated." Alongside the MASTERFLEX-HD, Mr. Cachin says that BOBST will also launch a new mid-range corrugated diecutter for the 1.6m market. "The EXPERTCUT 1.6 will have a completely new look and will feature a range of ideas cascaded down from the MASTERCUT range to deliver the reliability and versatility that mid to high volume producers need, whether they are converting corrugated or litho-laminated board."
BOBST is also addressing product quality in added-value processes like hot-foil stamping.
"At COMPETENCE10 we will take this even further with a new hot foil stamping machine that will set new standards when it comes to quality of register, stamping, and embossing, especially for paper applications" says Mr. Cachin.
Protecting the consumer
Mr. Jacques Reymond is head of the folder-gluer product line at BOBST. Like Mr. Cachin, he says that increasing the speeds that machines run at is of less concern to carton makers today than ensuring quality and conformity, especially as quality assurance on the folder-gluer is generally the last defense against non-conforming product getting out of the plant. "We've addressed the speed issue with machines like the MASTERFOLD, linked to peripheral equipment like the EASYFEEDER GT, CARTONPACK GT, and SPEEDWAVE module for crash-lock production on folding cartons, and also with the new EXPERTFOLD 1.6 for corrugated applications that we will launch at COMPETENCE10. Now we are looking at how we can use the folder-gluer to deliver greater consistency of quality to upstream or downstream processes."
"As well as being much quicker to set than if you are using a diecutter to emboss them, the Braille dots do not degrade during the run." Mr. Reymond says that, at COMPETENCE10, BOBST will launch an extension to the ACCUBRAILLE system that will significantly increase the amount of Braille that can be applied to a carton, along with launching a system for in-line, real time verification of Braille embossing, however it has been applied.
For corrugated applications, BOBST are looking downstream at what happens to the box after it has been glued. Mr. Reymond says that at COMPETENCE10, BOBST will launch a new automatic packer for all styles of corrugated and litho-laminated boxes. "Its gentle touch, but high performance, will ensure that today's high graphics, high added-value boxes will be protected from damage during the packing process. It is all about ensuring as far as possible that no product gets to the end user that doesn't meet their quality requirements," says Mr. Reymond.
New accuracy in litho-laminated
There is little that the designers at Bobst Group company ASITRADE do not know about the process of laminating litho printed sheets to corrugated board, either on the web, or sheet to sheet. Mr. Remo Truffer, head of the ASITRADE product line, says that while speed of production and ease of use are important, ensuring the accuracy of the lamination process is vital to downstream diecutting, and folding and gluing. "Our highly acclaimed FOLIOSTAR was a new generation in the sheet to sheet lamination of litho print onto corrugated substrates because it carried out the process at speed and with very quick and easy make-ready."
"Just like the FOLIOSTAR has achieved for sheet to sheet lamination, this new machine will be both fast and supremely accurate, helping ensure that the packaging our customers create downstream of our lines is as close to zero fault as humanly possible."
Consistency throughout the run
For Mr. Daniel Jourdan, head of Bobst Group's MARTIN product line, the drive towards 100% quality among box makers is clear. "Not only are our customers pushing for better and better graphics, they also need to ensure that those graphics are converted as accurately as possible to prevent returns from their customers, especially if the boxes are for machine erection or are made of light weight papers. That is one of the reasons why we developed the NT range for both our flexo-folder-gluers and rotary diecutters."
Along with this, Mr. Jourdan says MARTIN customers now require more and more flexibility, which is why the company designed the RAPIDSET (machine over a pit) concept. "Thanks to its outstanding ergonomics, it is one of the most effective solutions available today for improving 'time-to-market' response. Fitted with Posilock, the machine brings additional assets such as quick changeover, which is especially suitable for short production runs. Thanks to its high accuracy and instant set-up, 'first-box-saleable' becomes a reality with a RAPIDSET machine and short runs at low cost become viable."
Mr. Jourdan also explains that to achieve high consistency of quality, MARTIN NT machines are equipped with vacuum transport systems. These allow the sheet to be transferred without contact with its printed face, protecting the high quality printing on it and preventing crushing of the board.
COMPETENCE10 is an invitation only event running from 22nd to 28th September 2010 and will be centered on the BOBST headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. To make the event as useful as possible to visitors, native speakers and translators into French, German, Russian, Polish, Italian, English, and Spanish will be available on certain dates. Invitations and further details can be acquired from BOBST local offices or via www.bobstgroup.com/COMPETENCE10.
Alongside the theme of targeting ‘Zero Fault' packaging, the event will also cover all aspects of carton making from the manufacture and finishing of litho-laminates, the conversion of pharmaceutical, luxury, food, and beverage packaging, to the print and conversion of corrugated products whether they are brown box or high graphics.